Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — He reached 10,000 rushing yards faster than all but two running backs in NFL history. He ran for more yards in a season than all but one. He racked up more yards in a game than anyone else has ever done.
But Adrian Peterson has never taken a handoff in the Super Bowl. His counterparts around the NFL would like to see that change.
In ESPN’s NFL Nation Confidential, an anonymous survey of more than 320 players around the league, players voted the Minnesota Vikings running back the player they would most like to see in a Super Bowl who hasn’t been there yet.
Peterson, who won league MVP honors in 2012, claimed 18 percent of the total ballot with 59 votes, three more than Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. Eighty-eight players received at least one vote.
“That’s pretty cool,” Peterson said. “It feels good. I guess guys are able to see the passion that I play with, the desire I play with, and they respect it enough to make that type of statement.
“It says a lot, and it means a lot.”
Peterson came tantalizingly close to reaching the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, when the Vikings faced the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game. He scored three times, but his botched handoff led to Brett Favre‘s fumble at the Saints’ 4-yard line in the second quarter and the Vikings went on to lose in overtime.
“I don’t think I watched [the Super Bowl that year],” Peterson said. “We gave that one away. We gave a championship away. The NFC Championship Game was pretty much the Super Bowl that year.
“Not to take anything away from the Colts [who lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl] — that was a good team — but just how it balanced out, neither one of us was a good matchup they wanted to see in the Super Bowl. That was a tough one.”
This year marked the fourth time in seven seasons that Peterson and the Vikings missed the postseason. Each year, he said, it hurts a little more not to be in the playoffs. Would he want to go elsewhere if the Vikings don’t seem to be on the road to a championship?
“I try to stay in stride with what’s going on and play my cards as they’re dealt to me,” he said. “I’ve always said I would love to finish here, with the Vikings, so I’ll just stick with that.”
- Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
- Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate